Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bulletproof backpack sales spike after Newtown shootings

Back in 2007, we reported on a company -- MJ Safety Solutions -- which developed the Ballistic Bookbag, a bulletproof backpack. The founders were inspired by the 1999 Columbine massacre. Now, more than five years later, with the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., there are more that just on e such company, and reports are sales are surging.

It's unclear how sales are going at MJ Safety Solutions, now renamed Bullet Blocker. They advertise themselves as selling the original bulletproof backpack, and they've expanded beyond their original line to protection for more than just children.

A rival company, Amendment Two, has gone the opposite route: it makes most of its protective wear forpolice officers and soldiers, and says that it usually sold a mere handful of its children's body armor at gun shows in the past, until the Newtown, Conn. massacre. Now, it has seen a surge of sales. Demand is so high that the company's website has crashed several times since the Sandy Hook incident.

"The concept came up as things happened at schools; children need protection as well," said Rich Brand, COO of "Amendment Two."

However, Amendment Two's backpacks would have been useless against the high-velocity assault rifle ordinance. The company says that its backpacks offer lightweight protection against handgun rounds. The cost of a backpack starts at $300.

Meanwhile, makers of the original bulletproof backpack, Bullet Blocker, has a FAQ that goes deeper into protective specifications. To stop rifle rounds requires Level III or Level IV Ballistic Steel, Ceramic or Polyethylene. It's unclear that any of these will stop a high-velocity assault rifle round, though. Certainly, it is doubtful they would stop any of the armor-piercing rounds that Adam Lanza is supposed to have been sporting.

It is also unclear how protective a backpack would be to a student who might be sitting at a desk, or how a student would be able to use it to protect the front of their body.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, took some of her guns, and forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  He used an assault rifle to kill 20 kindergarten age students and six adults, before killing himself with a handgun as police closed in.

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